Tourist Distractions

Traveling and Feeling in Transnational Hallyu Cinema

Tourist Distractions

Book Pages: 264 Illustrations: 87 illustrations Published: March 2016

Author: Youngmin Choe

Asian Studies > East Asia, Cultural Studies, Media Studies > Film

In Tourist Distractions Youngmin Choe uses hallyu (Korean-wave) cinema as a lens to examine the relationships among tourism and travel, economics, politics, and history in contemporary East Asia. Focusing on films born of transnational collaboration and its networks, Choe shows how the integration of the tourist imaginary into hallyu cinema points to the region's evolving transnational politics and the ways Korea negotiates its colonial and Cold War past with East Asia's neoliberal present. Hallyu cinema's popularity has inspired scores of international tourists to visit hallyu movie sets, filming sites, and theme parks. This tourism helps ease regional political differences; reimagine South Korea's relationships with North Korea, China, and Japan; and blur the lines between history, memory, affect, and consumerism. It also provides distractions from state-sponsored narratives and forges new emotional and economic bonds that foster community and cooperation throughout East Asia. By attending to the tourist imaginary at work in hallyu cinema, Choe helps us to better understand the complexities, anxieties, and tensions of East Asia's new affective economy as well as Korea's shifting culture industry, its relation to its past, and its role in a rapidly changing region. 


"[T]his book investigates one of the most compelling issues in current Korean cinema in tandem with tourism—not only physical but also emotional. . . . It is highly recommended for a wide range of readers who are interested in Korean cinema, modern Korean history, the Korean Wave, and popular culture.' — Dal Yong Jin, Korean Studies

"Choe productively establishes a discussion that is relational rather than focused on bounded national contexts. She does terrific work in tying together solid and eminently useful historical context information and on-site research with close readings and more speculative, very insightful discussion. It is a balance that is difficult to achieve, but one that is especially rare in the study of popular culture from Korea." — Alexander Zahlten, Journal of Asian Studies

"Choe’s work is highly readable, inspiring, and absorbing. Tourist Distractions also promises to be productive in the classroom. It will attract and distract hallyu fans in Korean studies and researchers with interests in tourism studies, visual and cultural anthropology, cultural studies, and film studies." — Barbara Wall, Social History

"Although an impressive amount of scholarship on Hallyu cinema has been published in the last decade, the transnational affect of Hallyu cinema through re-contextualizing it as audience emotions, tensions, and transnational self-reflections has not been the focus of critical attention. Tourist Distractions fills this void in Korean film studies with a persuasive voice by establishing the transnational linkages of Hallyu to Japan, China, and North Korea since the early inception of the Hallyu boom." — Yongwoo Lee, Pacific Affairs

“This is a multilayered and elegant model, albeit one still under construction, that certainly suggests a much more contextually rich way to interpret the significant works of the Korean Wave; for that contribution alone Choe’s book should be considered a must-read.” — Kyu Hyun Kim, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies

"Enriching the oeuvre of Korean film scholarship with its theoretical rigor, Tourist Distractions fills a critical gap in Hallyu studies by placing it in productive dialogue with Korean studies, tourism studies, film studies, cultural studies, and visual/cultural anthropology." — Haerin Shin, Journal of Korean Studies

"Hallyu-lujah! This latest milestone raises the bar for hallyu studies both by cautiously analyzing several key texts of the recent renaissance of Korean films and by boldly tying it to the nationalist desires embedded in tourism. This pioneering book considers hallyu not as a commercial or artistic commodity, but as a regime of affective value. Tourist Distractions is an indispensable guide for anyone willing to enlarge their vision of not only Korea, but also of East Asia."   — Kyung Hyun Kim, author of Virtual Hallyu: Korean Cinema of the Global Era and In Search of Lost G

"This is a wonderful book—one of the most deftly written, soundly argued, and genuinely interesting monographs on Korean cinema and hallyu. Drawing from a number of disciplines, yet never forgetting the centrality of the filmic text through astute visual analysis, Youngmin Choe has produced a book for anyone and everyone at all interested in Korean cinema and culture."  — David Desser, coeditor of The Cinema of Hong Kong: History, Arts, Identity


Availability: In stock
Price: $26.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Youngmin Choe is Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Southern California and the coeditor of The Korean Popular Culture Reader, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix

Introduction. Distracted Attractions  1

Part I. Intimacy

1. Feeling Together: Pornography and Travel in Kazoku Cinema and Asako in Ruby Shoes  31

2. Affective Sites: Hur Jin-ho's April Snow and One Fine Spring Day  59

Part II. Amity

3. Provisional Feelings: The Making of Musa  89

4. Affective Palimpsests: Sudden Showers from Hwang Sun-won's "Sonagi" to Kwak Jae-yong and Andrew Lau's Daisy  112

Part III. Remembrance

5. Postmemory DMZ: Joint Security Area, Yesterday, and 2009 Lost Memories  143

6. Transient Monuments: Commemmorating and Memorializing in Taegukgi Korean War Film Tourism  166

Conclusion. K-hallyu: The Commodity Speaks in Kang Chul-woo's Romantic Island, Bae Yong-joon's A Journey in Search of Korea's Beauty, So Ji-sub's Road, and Choi Ji-woo's if  197

Notes  205

Bibliography  229

Index  241
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6130-5 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6111-4
Publicity material